August 29, 2018
“Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.” – Hebrews 13:17
In America we often view our leaders as superhuman, even if only subconsciously. Those who have lead well are immortalized in statues, they get buildings erected in their honor, and their name appears larger than life in prominent places. This is not just an American phenomenon. It has been true for many, if not most cultures throughout history. Unfortunately, this has carried over into the Church. We have seen this especially in the modern church in America. Great pastors and church leaders are immortalized in various ways. This leads to people seeing a pastor as superhuman, and attaching unrealistic and unhealthy expectations to that view. Pastors, however, are simply weak and broken people who are called by God into a unique role in the Church. And when pastors try to live out that superhuman expectation, they quickly burnout, fall into secret sin, battle depression, and eventually destroy themselves. We don’t need to look very far into the headlines to see this ugly truth playing out on a regular basis.
So what is the answer? How do we fix this problem? Hebrews 13:17 gives us the solution. When a pastor is held to impossible standards, then his eminent demise is harmful not only to him, but also to the church he shepherds. So it is in the best interest of the church people to make sure that their pastor serves with joy. The pastor is meant to lead and minister to the people as they in turn support and minister to him. This is God’s plan. This is the way a healthy church thrives. Each pastor is going to one day stand before God and give an account for the souls he has been called to shepherd. I can think of no greater honor, nor can I think of a more fearful responsibility. However, Scripture has made it clear to us that the pastor can only accomplish this in community with those he leads. So take just a moment today and pray for your pastor. In fact, pray for every pastor that you know of who is serving the Kingdom in a local church. And find ways to make your pastor’s service a joy. When we do this, we truly demonstrate to the world a superhuman kind of leadership and love. Not one manufactured by a great man or dynamic congregation, but a superhuman leadership and love that comes from God and God alone.
In Christ’s Service,
Pastor Shane Cannon